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- Victims request Bank of Botswana to revoke FNB licence
- They accuse FNB of having allowed the scam
- BoB absolves FNB of any wrong doing
- Warns victims they may have acted against the law
- Says the matter still under investigation by other agencies
The Bank of Botswana (BOB) has turned down a request by some of the Maun residents who were defrauded through the controversial Ecoplexus ponzi scheme to revoke or suspend the First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB)’s license as they hold a firm view that the bank has actively facilitated or condoned the scam.
In May this year, police confirmed that Maun had registered a total of 73 cases of people who have reportedly lost over P1.1 million pula in counting to the scheme. The ponzi scheme would later collapse and funds got frozen at the First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB) which deposits were made through before many victims managed to make withdrawals of promised returns.
In their letter to the Bank of Botswana, the victims who lamented to have lost close to P150 000.00 to the scheme are of the view that the bank has failed to protect them together with other innocent voiceless clients by having actively aided the Ecoplexus fraudsters which they argue automatically makes it an accessory to the scam.
In response, BOB however said having conducted investigations on the matter, it has no reason to believe that FNBB carried on banking business in a manner that was detrimental to the interest of the public. BOB said it has therefore found no basis to revoke nor suspend FNNB’s license, over and above supervisory action already taken by the bank.
The victims believe that the bank has also contravened Botswana Bankers Code of Conduct amongst other being- to have a safe, secure, and reliable banking and payments system as well as assisting in protecting its clients against fraud. They further argued that the bank has violated Section 17 2(b) of Botswana Banking (Anti Money Laundering) Regulations amongst other Sections of the same statute.
“One way or the other it is apparent that their Fraud Unit slept on its job which automatically makes FNBB liable for professional negligence.”
They added, “the perpetrators’ accounts are FNBB accounts and falls under their full control or day to day management. We submit that FNBB did not properly maintain, monitor, and conduct due diligence on the scammers’ accounts taking into cognizance the high volumes of the millions of Pulas that were deported into the said accounts by various individuals through FNBB various means of deposits or payments,” read the letter.
Amongst other things they also complained that FNBB’s various payment systems have promptly failed to warn or reject any monies that were deposited into their custody bearing Ecoplexus Reference. “Prior freezing of the scammers accounts there were no any security warnings from FNBB to ourselves nor the general public, an act one would reasonably expect from a reasonable international reputable bank of FNBB’s magnitude.”
The victims believe that the bank is irresponsible and lacks social responsibility and that it does not care about the damage that Batswana has incurred through their professional negligence. They are convinced that the bank is only concerned about their capitalist profit that they made through the victims’ hard earned cash.
Meanwhile BOB has reiterated that depending on the outcome of the ongoing investigations by law enforcement agencies, individuals who participated in the scheme may face the wrath of the law for violating provisions of, among others, the Banking Act, Consumer Protection Act, and the Financial Intelligence Act.